Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Elsevier
Publish with us
Auriculotemporal Nerve
Nervous System

Auriculotemporal Nerve

Nervus auriculotemporalis

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: Posterior division of mandibular nerve.

Course: Runs posteriorly, splitting around the middle meningeal artery, then merging as it wraps superiorly behind the temporomandibular joint. It ascends anterior to the ear, continuing up onto the posterior temple.

Branches: Superficial temporal, anterior auricular, parotid, and articular branches, a communicating branch to the otic ganglion, and nerve to the external acoustic meatus.

Supply: Sensory: conveys general sense information from the ear, external acoustic meatus, tympanic membrane, temporomandibular joint, and skin over the parotid gland and posterior temple; Parasympathetic: innervation of the parotid gland.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free

Origin

The auriculotemporal nerve is a branch of the posterior division of the mandibular nerve. It originates as two branches, a sensory branch from the posterior division whose cell bodies are in the trigeminal ganglion, and a parasympathetic branch that originates in the otic ganglion.

Course

The sensory branch of the auriculotemporal nerve arises from the posterior division of the mandibular nerve and runs posteriorly, superficial to the middle meningeal artery. The parasympathetic branch originates in the otic ganglion and runs posteriorly, deep to the middle meningeal artery. Posterior to the middle meningeal artery, the two branches of the auriculotemporal nerve merge and continue posteriorly.

The auriculotemporal nerve wraps around the posteromedial surface of the temporomandibular joint before ascending along the deep posterior surface of the parotid gland. It meets up with the superficial temporal artery and vein and follows this vasculature up to the posterior temple, embedded within the temporalis fascia.

Branches

The auriculotemporal nerve gives rise to a number of small sensory nerves as well as the parasympathetic fibers that innervate the parotid gland. These include the:

—superficial temporal branches;

—nerve to the external acoustic meatus;

—anterior auricular branches;

—articular branch;

—parotid branches;

—communicating branch to the otic ganglion.

Supplied Structures

The auriculotemporal nerve is a mixed nerve. It is primarily sensory, conveying general sense information from areas of the posterior temple and anterior ear. It also transmits parasympathetic innervation to the parotid gland. The specific targets of the auriculotemporal nerve are listed below.

The superficial temporal branches convey general sense information from the posterior temple up to the crown of the head. These fibers innervate skin that is bordered anteriorly by skin innervated by the maxillary nerve and posteriorly by skin innervated by the lesser occipital nerve.

Nerves to the external acoustic meatus convey general sense information from the skin of the external acoustic meatus and the external surface of the tympanic membrane.

The anterior auricular nerves convey general sense information from the skin of the portion of the external ear that lies anterior to the external acoustic meatus.

The articular branch of the auriculotemporal nerve conveys general sense information from the posterior portion of the temporomandibular joint

The parotid branches are the postganglionic parasympathetic fibers that innervate the parotid gland. The communicating branch to the otic ganglion is the source of these postganglionic parasympathetic fibers.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Auriculotemporal Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The auriculotemporal nerve is a branch of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve and supplies sensation to the tragus and helical crus.

Explore on ScienceDirect(opens in new tab/window)

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy